Australia v India – Fourth Test, Day 1: Solid day by Australia as Marnus stars

Border Gavaskar Trophy



First day of the final test match in what has been a wonderful series fully of interest and intrigue. The winner of this game will take the series but a draw will mean India retain the Border-Gavaskar Trophy.


India will go into the game injury riddled and bereft of their number one bowling attack. From Sydney Bumrah and Ashwin (both injured) and the others Sharma, Shami and Yudav back in India. This will be a real Test for them as only Siraj (2) and Saini (1) have played at the highest level. The visitors have been lauded how they have beaten adversity in games played let’s see how they go today.  Batting hero from Sydney Hanuma Vihari is also out injured as is the fine all-rounder Ravindra Jadeja.


Another new opening pair for Australia with Harris replacing the injured Pucovski.


Looking at the wicket with Australia winning the toss and batting it looks very questionable with cracks already appearing. Not often a Test is played so late in the summer in Brisbane. The wisdom of officials and the media chose it so – will be of great interest.


Really chuffed this morning when reading The Australian over coffee to see that Gideon Haigh agreed with me in regard to Labuschagne “walk-off out”. Haigh went one step further by saying he (Labuschagne) should be “timed” upon dismissal to the gate. Will watch today with interest.


A badly out of form Warner (1) pokes at Siraj and Sharma takes a brilliant catch at second slip.  Like wise Harris (5) a dolly from Thakur’s first ball to new boy Washington 2/ 17.


There is an old adage in sport which says” as you train so shall you play”. How the Australian hierarchy have it so wrong.  Swanning around the country with nearly two teams, no match practice for the honeymooners and all of a sudden, they are playing Test cricket.


Said it once and will say it again – there are too many boffins in the Australian bubble plus the extra players. You don’t have to be Wilfred Rhodes to see that players need match practice even if it is only in the nondescript Big Bash.  Anything is better than nothing. Certainly, can’t remember when Harris last played a game and Warner has not been match fit.


Noted coach Langer saying this morning “it’s all about the value of mateship instead of lauding Nathan Lyon (100th Test)”.


Mateship/ What about the cricket ability?


I would be delighted when he starts talking about how Cricket Australia organise the program for the summer. He probably has no say in it in the long term but surely if Test cricket is still the driving force then some consideration must be given to the lead up for possibles and probables.


Big task for India now with the Bananas in Pyjamas at the wicket. They are in such good form that even Ita Buttrose might consider a rise in salary for them.


B1 & B2 are in no hurry and the bowlers are making the ball move ever so slightly. Smith is in good touch and Marnus is again acting as the anchor.


Tough, grinding cricket with neither side giving much away and Australia went to lunch at 2/65, Labuschagne (19) and Smith (30).


We have heard a lot about Washington lately, probably too much, but this Washington trumped us all.


He came here as a net bowler but he was the last man standing and so received a Test berth. Smith (36) played a lazy shot and Sharma took an easy catch at short mid – wicket.  This was a vital wicket, as Smith always is, and India in the game again! Australia 3/87.


Whatever we say about Labuschagne one thing for sure is that he can bat. Once again, he is the man in control of the situation. First, he was the anchor and now he is full steam ahead. Runs start to flow from his bat. At the other end Matthew Wade is playing for his place in the team.


He reaches his third century at The Gabba from 195 balls, 9 fours (2 all run) and the real indicator of his solid play 146 dot balls.


A wonderful partnership as they right the ship and take control of the Indian Second’s attack.  Wade is playing sound cricket when needed and looks comfortable without being dominant. He is a strange beast that does not know when he is beaten and keeps bobbing up for yet another last breath to save himself.


Praising Wade (45) should be a no-no. He mistimes an indescribable shot and the skies the ball for Thakur to take a simple catch and Thanarasu Natarajan has his first Test wicket. Australia now 4/200.


After a magnificent innings for his side Labuschagne (108) tries to pull Natarajan gets a top edge and Pant easy-peasy. Natarajan has his second wicket and doing an excellent job for his team (2/32 from 14 overs). Smith get the accolades but where would the Australian team be without Marnus?


India back in the hunt with the home side 5/213.


Once again Cameron Green is in when the team needs runs and he and skipper Paine will need to thwart the new ball when it arrives soon.  Another wicket would set India up to dismiss the tail which does start with Patrick Cummins.


I had expected Cummins to come to the fore as a batsman this summer but it hasn’t worked and wont. Australia need him too much as a bowler.


Solid work by Paine and Green as they developed a fine partnership. The green youngster has settled well into Test cricket as a batsman and only needs to develop his bowling substantially to be the “real thing”.  Paine on the other hand has quite a few brownie points to retrieve and a good innings here will erase some of the Sydney shenanigans.


At stumps Australia 5/274 with Green 28 and Paine 38 not out. New chum Natarajan has 2/63.


Australia on top after a dour struggle highlighted by another Labuschagne ton.





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About Bob Utber

At 80 years of age Citrus Bob is doing what he wanted to do as a 14 year-old living on the farm at Lang Lang. Talking, writing, watching sport. Now into his third book on sports history he lives in Mildura with his very considerate wife (Jenny ) and a groodle named "Chloe On Flinders". How good is that.


  1. John Butler says

    CB, you were quicker than some of India’s bowling today.

    Another batting effort like so many in recent years. Too many just not valuing their wicket enough.

    Redeemed by a good partnership at the end. And Marnus.

    In the face of everything conspiring against them, India persist. They have been impressive.


  2. CITRUS BOB says

    JB – just admire this Indian team so much. 6 of the top 12 absent and still they keep coming. Except for Marnus, Paine and Green the other blew their chance for big scores
    Yes, the bowling was pedestrian but they just kept coming!

  3. Good call, CB! Yes, too many soft dismissals, Marnus rode his luck, and possibly the best batting came in the last session. We will only be able to tell how good the Australian’s total is once India bats. I think 350+ might be useful, although 450 would be ‘safe’. The pace and bounce might find the Indians out. But, as everyone says, they just keep coming! Shades of Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid: ” Who are those guys anyway!?”

  4. Thanks again CB. Good coverage of the series. Now what happens about this shaky batting? I concur with your words.

    A badly out of form Warner, praising Wade should be a no-no, not sure what to say about Harris. Are these the best players available? Poor Glenn Maxwell’s card seems marked, not to recall. What’s happened to Matt Renshaw: who else is out there, promising, but untried?

    I’m alone thinking having no other cricket taking place now beyond the franchise ‘hit & run’ limits the ability of players to make scores to put themselves in line for a berth. I’m not kidding myself about the $$$ value of the franchise cricket for the cricketing entertainment industry, but i lament its emphasis ahead of tests. Tests are called because they are tests, of who are the best players/teams.

    Saying that happy to sit back and watch this test, with hopefully a big win for the locals,

    Keep up the good work C B .


  5. citrus bob says

    IH – Can’t recall when all dismissals were “soft” – pathetic Was it Butch or Sundance who said that?

    GLEN- I wrote a couple of years ago that Maxwell’s card was marked If you are not in favour you are out. Saw Renshaw at the start of his career -very, very good. Have a feeling his card has been marked as well.
    What about Kurtis Patterson and Nick Maddison?
    Until cricket programming is sorted out in favour of Test cricket we will have problems and it is not likely unless India start getting thrashed.
    Thanks gents – looking forward to day 2 when the StormTroopers arrive!

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